Banbury’s historic St Mary’s Church is to receive £100,000 of public funding to pay for vital repairs to its roof, it was announced last week.
The money comes from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund, a government-sponsored fund set up to help make places of worship for all faiths weathertight, safe and open for use.
The fund is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund on behalf of the Department for Culture Media and Sport. It was set up after the Chancellor of the Exchequer committed £15 million of funding in last year’s Autumn Statement.
All listed places of worship were invited to make applications to the fund by the end of January. The high demand prompted the Chancellor to allocate an additional £40 million in his 2015 Budget, doubling the number of grants originally expected to be awarded.
St Mary’s, which was added to English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register in 2014, is one of 502 places of worship that will receive grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to meet the costs of urgent repairs to roofs and guttering.
Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry has welcomed the news. He said: ““I was extremely grateful to the Chancellor when he announced that funds would be made available for the repair of church roofs and St Mary’s were extremely diligent in getting their application in before the deadline in January.
“This will obviously be very welcome money for St Mary’s which is the only Grade One Listed Building in the town suffers from the fact that the Horton stone is very soft. The money will help ensure the church remains weather tight, safe and open for use.”